As expected, Floyd awoke in a foul mood, the Judge, having just gone into his home and having to physically shake him awake. “Wake up! This is important.”
Floyd groaned as he sat up holding his head, then glancing over at his bedside clock he groaned again before starting to rant, “It’s six in the morning! What the hell, Peter!”
“Shut up and let me talk. I don’t have time for your rants right now. As I said this is important.” The Judge began to explain the situation with the boys having returned the morning before, but Floyd cut in furious. “My sons, after five years, come back home into town and no one thought it important enough to let me know? What the hell is wrong with you people? You won’t let me come to the town meeting and escort me home virtually at gunpoint with threats of shooting me if I don’t stay inside. That’s bad enough, but you keep from me that my sons are home and safe?”
Peter cut in, “Shut up! And I’ll explain.” Floyd glared at the Judge, but he kept quiet for the moment. Peter continued after a brief pause to regain his composure. Dealing with Floyd under the best of circumstances was difficult, but right now he was hungover and furious. So that wasn’t exactly a good combination. “We didn’t tell you, because we wanted to find out what was going on first. The boys were in bad condition and Lance sent everyone back to their homes and business until more was found out and they were told not to wake you. The last thing those boys needed the moment they stepped into town was their hungover father interrogating them. The Doc had to sedate them just to clean them up and tend to their wounds, they were in such bad shape, and they’re going to be transported to the City Hospital this morning after Lance finishing speaking to them. Now here’s the problem…”
The Judge began filling Floyd in on the whole story of what Luke and Mike had revealed, how the Sheriff and Aberly had backtracked the boys’ scent to Lloyd’s place and the condition they found him in, verifying the boys’ story, and the Sheriff’s subsequently burning the evidence and reporting having seen a forest fire in order to draw the authorities there so that they could investigate the possible serial killing, though without Lance telling them any details about that, leaving the authorities to discover whatever they discovered on their own.
“So, the story is going to be that you voluntarily gave your brother custody of the boys…” The Judge continued after bringing Floyd up to date on all the news and happenings over the last day. “And he took the boys away. Where we don’t know, and just yesterday they came out of the woods. We need to modify the truth, or we’re all going to end up with our asses on a platter for not reporting those boys missing five years ago to outside authorities, and you as their father would be the main person culpable in that. They’d send you to jail for sure. So, do you understand what we’re all going to be saying? This way, no one gets into any trouble and the boys are home safe and are going to get the care they need.” For the time being the Judge left off the fact that Luke might lose his leg. “Now those boys have been through Hell and back again. So, if you want to see them before they’re transferred then you need to be in a calm state and not jumping down their throats or ranting at them.”
Floyd was staring at the Judge with a look of shock on his face. “A serial killer? There’s no way Lloyd was a serial killer. We would have known. You can’t hide that sort of thing. It starts young from what I understand, with them killing animals. Lloyd never did that kind of shit! Okay, maybe he abused the boys. I’m not going to argue that considering the condition you said they were in, but we don’t know the whole story of what happened either. He was my brother. Even though we had our falling out when I married Angie, we were close before that. I would have known. Something else happened. The boys are probably lying to cover up the truth…”
The Judge interrupted Floyd’s rant. “Get your head on straight, Floyd. I’m telling you what Lance found out there. A shelf full of human skulls, a torture-kill room, and if you see the conditions those boys are in, you’ll know that they were being severely abused and tortured. Lloyd wasn’t right in the head and Mike acted in self-defense. No court or jury in the world would ever see it any other way, but it’s not going to come down to that, because we’re not going to be talking about that. Is that clear? Now, don’t start in on the boys about killing your brother. You hear me? They don’t need that right now, and your being allowed to see them is going to be dependent on your behavior. Otherwise, you’re going to wait until they get back from the hospital. They’re still your sons and no one is taking them away from you, but you need to calm down and listen to what I am saying. We can’t have you ranting about Mike killing your brother in front of the wrong people, or that’s going to be drawing up all sorts of questions and investigations. So, sit there and take some deep breaths and calm the hell down.”
It took some doing but the Judge finally got Floyd calmed down to where he was listening to reason, though it was decided that it would be best to wait until after the boys received treatment in the City before he was allowed to see them. Floyd wasn’t happy with that decision, but the Judge was insistent, but he did mollify the man somewhat by allowing him to come to the early morning town meeting which was called once both Floyd and the boys had been filled in on the story that was to be told. Montavier attended as well once he heard the story from Jarrel, though he had left Jarrel back at the plantation locked in his mad room for the time being.